A WORD FROM THE PASTOR
Faith Formation and Its Problems
In our parish, the just concluded faith formation program (2020-21) had nearly 100 children, from 1st grade to 11th grade. Some 60 to 80 children regularly attended the scheduled 24 classes out of which 3 classes were cancelled due to weather problems. On the whole we did well, despite the pandemic. We are happy about it. I would like to appreciate and thank the parents who cooperated with Becky Blanchard and made it success. My special thanks to 5 teachers who were generous in giving their time for the children. May God bless them!
However, all is not well. I would like to draw your attention to some problems that need to be attended to regarding faith formation.
Parents register their children for faith formation, but the majority of them do not attend Sunday Mass. Children confess that they miss the church because their parents don’t go to the church.
Some 10 to 20 parents pay special attention to their children, teaching prayers and other things, and they attend the church with their children, some of them are altar servers.
My appeals to the parents to attend church with their children at least once a month were not taken seriously by a majority of them.
The second graders who receive First Communion and continue not attending the church certainly forget the prayers they learned and even don’t remember the procedure to make confession.
Due to these reasons, children forget the things taught in the catechism classes and there is a danger of their drifting away from the church and practice of faith.
The pandemic of Covid - 19 and subsequent lockdown and suspension of Sunday obligation by the Bishops have aggravated the existing problem.
While the above said problems are visible in our parish (elsewhere also), I see a good intention of the parents who don’t attend the church – ‘Even though we don’t do the right thing, at least let our children go in the right direction.’ It is something to be appreciated. But those parents should know that their children pick up a contradictory message: ‘My parents ask me to do something that they don’t want to do.’ Those parents who don’t attend the church should realize this fact.
A few children who come to the church with their parents, I personally see their growth in faith and they conduct themselves well in the church. It means to say that when the parents are involved in the faith formation of their children, the children grow well in the practice of faith. Hence involvement of the parents plays an important role in the practice of faith of the children. It is a fact.
The church, from the beginning, is committed to faith formation of the people of God, in particular the children. This faith activity of the church is the dire necessity of our time. At this time, I would like to leave some questions for your reflections.
- Is there any good way to motivate the parents to attend the church with their children?
- Is there any better way to reach out to them?
- Are the parents willing to cooperate with the church in the faith formation of their children?
- Can the parents become partners with the church in the faith formation of their children?
Your good suggestions would certainly help to make 2021-22 year faith formation classes effective and more participative.